City of Bonita Springs

Voluntary Home Buyout Program Registration


To date, the implementation of the City’s Voluntary Home Buyout Program has allowed for 13 homeowners to sell their flood-prone properties to the City at current market values. The structures that once sat on these properties have been demolished and the properties will forever be kept in an undeveloped state. The families that are participating in this program have successfully relocated outside flood-prone areas of the City and will not experience structural flooding again.


 Hurricane Irma made landfall in Bonita Springs as a Category 3 storm on September 10, 2017. Bonita Springs was identified as the third most impacted community in the state, behind Monroe County and Everglades City. The hurricane caused flooding throughout the City.

With such extensive flood damage from the storm, the City requested, and was awarded, $5 Million from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) Voluntary Home Buyout Program (VHBP). The following is the public announcement by the State:


The goal of the VHBP is to acquire property from low-and moderate-income households (LMH) in high-risk flood areas to reduce the impact of future disasters. Once homes are purchased, the structures will be demolished, and the land will be managed as natural green space, recreation, or stormwater management. It will also remain in the City of Bonita Springs’ ownership in perpetuity. The program serves multiple objectives and provides a resiliency option versus rebuilding within the highest risk areas. Buyouts help prevent repetitive loss and extreme risk to human health and safety. The objectives of the program are:

1. Acquire properties impacted by Hurricane Irma and convert the properties to recreational uses, green space and/or flood control measures (stormwater management) in perpetuity

2. Provide mitigation to the City against future flood damages and health and safety risks for owners and rescuers

3. Reduce repetitive and severe subsidized flood insurance payments and federal disaster assistance


While the program is specifically offered to any property within the city limits that encountered severe flood damage by Hurricane Irma, the City has targeted several neighborhoods centrally located in the City that suffered the most severe flooding. 

The Quinn/Downs/Dean Neighborhood bound by the Imperial River on the north, Interstate 75 on the east, Bonita Beach Road on the south and Lime Street on the west received as much as four (4) feet of standing water in the majority of the residential structures for more than a month following the storm. See the map below for the specific targeted neighborhood:


This neighborhood includes individual lots that consist of a mix of single family, multi-family, duplex, and mobile home structures. Most houses were constructed between the early 1950’s to today. Current building construction standards require houses constructed today to be elevated out of the floodplain area. However, prior to 2017, that was not the case. Some of the existing structures are built at ground evaluation will little or no fill on the property. The neighborhood itself is bordered by Bonita Beach Road and Imperial Parkway, both streets were constructed and/or widened at a higher evaluation than the houses in the neighborhood. This causes the area shown above to act as a basin collecting stormwater during a strong-rain event.


Under this program, the City will purchase your property at current fair market value (today’s appraised value). All the structures acquired by the City will be demolished and the property will be maintained as open space, active or passive recreational space and/or for stormwater retention purposes in perpetuity.

Additionally, all property owners participating in the buyout program are eligible for up to the maximum housing replacement assistance allowed by the program. All income qualified buyout participants are eligible for up to $25,000 in housing replacement assistance PLUS the fair market value of your home. Those individuals that are not income qualified will be eligible for up to $10,000 in housing replacement allowance.

The following requirements must be met to qualify for housing replacement assistance:
The buyout home must be in the designated area or house a low- to moderate- income family.
The homeowner must purchase a replacement home that is more expensive than the buyout home.
The replacement home must be located in Bonita Springs city limits.
The replacement home must be considered decent, safe, and sanitary.
The City of Bonita Springs is required to ensure that the first priority of the program is to those residents that meet the income limits listed below for low- or moderate-income limits published by the U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

STEP 1.  HUD requires the City to review the applicants’ income documentation in order to qualify them for the program (refer to table below for maximum limits). This is slightly different that the typical process of selling your home. The City must income qualify your household in order for you to sell your house to the City.  However, and very important, there are some instances that if you exceed the income levels below, the City can still purchase your property. However, the City still must document your income in order to qualify you for the program. 

FY 2022 Multifamily Tax Subsidy Projects (MTSP) 
Income Limits for Lee County, Florida (Cape Coral – Fort Myers, FL USA)
Based on annual median income of $83,200






30% Income Limit










Income Limit










Income Limit










If you’re interested in participating in the Bonita Springs Voluntary Home Buyout Program, the first step is to complete the application in the following link: 
VHBO Application Form

As the name implies, the acquisition program is completely voluntary. Submitting this form does not commit you to any action. You have the right to withdraw from the program at any time prior to the purchase of your property.

After you have completed the form, you will need to provide copies of the following documents:

Social Security cards for all household members
Picture ID for all adult household members
Birth certificates for all minors (children under 18) in the household
Warranty deed (If a mobile home – copy of mobile home title)
Most recent mortgage statement
Homeowner’s/flood insurance declaration page
Three (3) most recent checking and savings account statements for ALL adult household members
Income verification for all household members that have earned or unearned income:
Most recent three (3) months’ pay stubs
Social Security award letter or statement (must be issued within the past three (3) months) as applicable
Pension letter as applicable
Proof of Adoption subsidies, as applicable
Evidence of child support, as applicable
Proof of cash and any other income

For those currently employed, the City will obtain third party verification. If self-employed – provide a copy of current year’s tax return and year-to-date profit & loss statement,

Even though the City MUST, AND WILL, protect the confidentiality and integrity of your information some property owners are just uncomfortable with providing some of the items in the previous list, i.e., bank account information, tax returns, income statements, etc.  The City understands this situation. 
If submitting your personal information is a deterrent to participating in the program the City has created a waiver process, so you don’t have to submit your confidential information. An application must still be filled out, but you can omit your personal information, with the exception of your driver’s license and social security card. The City will need those 2 items in order to verify you are the current and valid owner of the property you are selling to the City.
The waiver (click the appropriate link below) allows you to participate in the program without providing your personal information. The trade off is that you will not be entitled to the housing incentive described earlier in our information.

English Form Spanish Form

Once you have completed the application, collected all the required information or completed the application and signed the Housing Replacement Assistance Waiver, please contact the City’s VHBP Project Manager Elly Soto-McKuen at (239) 949-6262 to arrange to submit your information. City Hall is located at 9101 Bonita Beach Road, Bonita Springs, FL 34135.

The City is responsible for protecting the confidentiality and integrity of protected personal information (PPI) (information which can be used to distinguish or trace an individual’s identity) collected and retained by the City for the purpose of determining an applicant’s eligibility.


1. Low: Full name, address, phone number

2. Medium: Date of birth, mother’s maiden name

3. High: Bank account numbers, Pin numbers, credit card numbers, passwords, photos, medical information, criminal history, social security number, driver’s license number, passport information


1. City staff will only solicit and accept data and documents from the applicant necessary to determine the eligibility of the applicant for the VHBP.

2. If the applicant provides original documents, City staff will make copies of the information and original documents will be returned to the applicant at the time the applicant applies to sell their home to the City.

3. Hardcopies of applicant data is stored and secured throughout the life of the program’s documentation retention period.

4. Data and documents received and stored electronically are stored on password protected systems.

5. Only authorized City staff who have responsibility for the program have access to the applicant’s PPI.


1. The City will not release any sensitive PPI associated with an applicant without first seeking to obtain the consent of the applicant. Should the applicant not consent to the release of the PPI, the City will not release the information unless otherwise required to by federal, state, or local law.

2. All releases of applicant PPI must be approved by the VHBP Project Manager in the Public Works Department

3. All record requests pertaining to the applicant’s PPI are subject to the requirements of Section 119 Florida Statutes, otherwise known as “the Florida Public Records Law”.

Once the applicant is comfortable and understands the submittal process, it is important to understand how the process works. Step 2 below outlines what each party (the homeowner and City) will be responsible for during the acquisition process.

Step 2. The City is responsible for all purchase related steps of the process. The City hires and pays for the appraisal, the property survey, commissions a 50-year title search and pays all closing costs. The only out-of-pocket expense the homeowner(s) incurs is the balance of their existing mortgage, as applicable and any liens identified in the title search.

To help understand the buyout process, the City created the following map outlining all of the steps in the acquisition process:

Bonita Springs Quinn/Downs/Dean Neighborhood Voluntary Buyout Program Process Map

July, 2022



All written information and documents are available in both English and Spanish. The City also has staff readily available to assist you with the submittal of your documentation (via email or in person).


The simple answer is yes. The property owner follows the same process outlined above. If tenants are present with a valid lease in the units, then the City must provide funding to relocate the tenants to another rental unit.

Because the City is utilizing federal funds to purchase property located in floodplain areas, the City is subject to the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Act. This act establishes minimum standards for federally funded programs involving the displacement of persons from their homes due to acquisition, rehabilitation, demolition, or any other reason which may permanently or temporarily displace someone involuntarily, as a result of undertaking a federally funded program.

When the City enters into an acquisition agreement with a property owner under the City’s VHBP that may require displacing tenants, the City will take the following actions:

1. Work with the property owner to identify any affected households by obtaining a current roster of all on site occupants and copies of all current leases.

2. Formally notify each tenant in writing of their potential displacement; their rights to receive counseling and assistance and who to contact for more information.

3. Seek to meet in person with each affected tenant to explain the project and personally advise each tenant of the relocation assistance available. The City may provide each tenant with copies of HUD Relocation Assistance brochures and other written resources to help them better understand the relocation process and the options available to them.

4. Continually and timely notify each tenant applying for and receiving relocation assistance of their status throughout the process.


a. General Information Notice: As soon as feasible, the City will issue a General Information Notice (GIN) to persons that could be potentially displaced. The GIN is to advise households under what conditions displacement might occur; that they may be eligible for URA assistance; the type(s) of assistance available; what the requirements are for becoming eligible for assistance and who to contact for more information.

b. Notice of Eligibility: The City will issue a Notice of Eligibility promptly to tenants after they have been deemed to qualify as displaced persons per the eligibility requirements. Eligibility for relocation assistance shall begin on the date of a notice of intent to acquire or actual acquisition, whichever occurs first.

c. Preferences of Displaced Persons: The Notice of Eligibility shall include a request that eligible tenants indicate their relocation preferences as soon as feasible to support accurate relocation planning and market analysis efforts. Preferences are non-binding and do not affect the tenant’s eligibility for URA assistance and services.

d. Notice of Ineligibility: Should the City determine that an applicant is not eligible for relocation assistance, the City will promptly send a Notice of Ineligibility to the applicant. The notice will specify and explain the reasons that the tenant does not qualify for relocation assistance. The notice will advise the applicant that they can formally appeal the determination.

e. Notice to Relocate: Tenants that have been issued a Notice of Eligibility are provided a minimum of ninety (90) days written notice specifying the earliest possible date they will be required to permanently relocate. No person to be displaced shall be required to move from the dwelling unless at least one comparable replacement dwelling has been identified. Such notices are to include the maximum amount of replacement housing payments available to the household. Households may relocate and/or initiate a claim for relocation assistance at any point after receipt of the ninety (90) day notice of the relocation date with no loss of URA eligibility. The tenant must notify the City immediately when the move out date has been determined. Tenants that encounter difficulty finding a replacement dwelling may be given up to twelve (12) months from the date of the ninety (90) day notice to occupy a replacement dwelling for which they wish to claim relocation assistance.

f. Distributing Notices: The City will send all notices by certified or registered mail, return receipt requested. When notices are served in person, recipients will be asked to sign an acknowledgement of notification. All notices are written in both English and Spanish. The City will provide translation and interpretation for those unable to read or understand the notices. All notices shall identify a person who can be contacted to answer questions and provide other assistance.

A replacement dwelling rental amount is considered to be within the displaced person’s financial means if their monthly rent for the displaced dwelling plus the rental assistance provided under this program equals the person’s monthly rent for the replacement dwelling.

Tenants (also called displaced person(s) under the Uniform Relocation Act) are eligible for the following forms of relocation assistance:

a. Moving Expenses Reimbursement: A displaced person who moves from a dwelling (including a mobile home) is entitled to payment of his or her actual and reasonable moving expenses. Reimbursement of actual moving expenses will be determined based on one or a combination of the following methods:

1. Commercial Move (moves performed by a professional mover); or

2. Self-Move (moves performed by the displaced person). Reimbursement(s) for self-moves is(are) to be paid pursuant to the current Fixed Residential Moving Cost Schedule published in the Federal Register or by actual costs based on receipts for labor and equipment.

b. Other Moving-related Expenses: Displaced persons and their households are eligible for reimbursement of actual moving-related expenses set forth under 49 CFR Subpart D 24.301(g) and (h). These include, but are not limited to:

1. Transportation to relocate the displaced person(s)

2. Packing, crating, unpacking, and uncrating of personal property

3. Removing and reinstalling appliances

4. Repairs and/or modifications to a mobile home so that it can be moved and/or made decent, safe, and sanitary

5. Removing and reinstalling appurtenances attached to a mobile home

6. Renting storage for personal property for a period of up to 12 months

c. Security Deposits and Fees: A displaced person required to provide a non-refundable security deposit for the replacement comparable dwelling may seek reimbursement for the cost of all non-refundable security deposits and entrance fees. These fees may be paid in advance of occupancy where circumstances warrant.

d. Rental or Down Payment Assistance: A displaced person who moves from a dwelling (including a mobile home) to a comparable replacement dwelling is entitled to rental assistance equaling the difference between their present rent and the replacement dwelling rent over 42 months. Rental assistance can be paid monthly or as a one-time lump sum payable at the time of occupancy. Also, a displaced person who elects to purchase a comparable replacement dwelling can request to receive down payment assistance in the form of a lump sum check issued at the time of the closing of the purchase.


Each displaced person who has qualified for assistance will choose their comparable replacement dwelling. Prior to taking occupancy, each displaced person must request and obtain a successful Housing Quality Standard Inspection from the City. City staff is to conduct this inspection in accordance with the HUD Inspection Checklist set forth under 24 CFR Part 982 to verify that the replacement dwelling is decent, safe, and sanitary.


a. Payments will generally be in the form of reimbursements of pre-approved moving expenses, other moving-related expenses and non-refundable security deposits and fees that are prior approved by City staff.

b. Where necessary, City staff may authorize the payment of eligible and pre-approved expenses directly to a creditor on behalf of the displaced person.

c. Expenses incurred by tenants that are not pre-approved will not generally be eligible for payment. However, City staff may authorize an exception to this under extenuating circumstances after properly documenting the reasons for authorizing the expense “after the fact”.

d. All reimbursement requests must include appropriate source documentation (e.g., rental agreements, leases, invoices, cancelled checks and receipts, etc.).

e. Tenants are required to file all reimbursement claims within 30 calendar days of incurring the expenses and will be required to formally acknowledge receipt of relocation benefits at the time of receipt.


Prospective and Actual Displaced Persons: The City will keep records of all residential structures which have rental units containing tenants who may be in need of, apply for or receive relocation assistance under this program. These records must be retained for a period of six years. All files must be secured to protect the privacy of tenants and their households.

a. Displaced persons seeking or receiving relocation assistance may formally appeal decisions pertaining to any of the following actions:

  1.  A determination of their ineligibility; or

  2. The dollar amount of the assistance awarded to them; or

  3. The outcome of an inspection pertaining to a dwelling they wish to occupy.

b. All appeals are to be submitted in writing by the displaced person or their

c. Representative to the City within 30 days of being notified by the City.

d. City staff will review the appeal and issue a decision within 15 business days after receipt of the written appeal.

Voluntary Home Buyout Program




Professional Service


Contract Execution Date


Contract Amount


Spent to Date





Eff. 12/1/2023

Pegasus Engineering

Grant Management

May 19, 2021



Florida Acquisition and Appraisal


Title Search


June 8, 2021

September 6, 2023 Amend. 1



$ 640

$ 560


$ 25,645.00

Q. Grady Minor

Hole Montes



February 3, 2021

February 3, 2021




$ 2,990.00

HONC Destruction




February 3, 2022

structure type and square footage price









The City of Bonita Springs is committed to ensuring that no person shall, on the grounds of race, color, sex, religion, national or ethnic origin, familial status, or disability, be excluded from participation in, denied benefits or, or otherwise be subjugated to discrimination in any facet of the City’s Relocation program.


Citizens and applicants who are dissatisfied with functions or decisions undertaken as part of the Voluntary Home Buyout Program may file a complaint or appeal. The City’s complaint and Appeal process is set forth in the enclosed link:

Citizen Complaint And Appeal Policy

For assistance with the VHBP complaint process, call Elly Soto McKuen at (239) 949-6262 or Email: [email protected].


All comments or complaints may be submitted to the following address: 


City of Bonita Springs
Public Works Department 
9101 Bonita Beach Road SE
Bonita Springs, Florida 34135
Records of all comments, objections, and/or complaints by citizens concerning the City of Bonita Springs’ CDBG programs and subsequent action taken in response to those comments will be maintained on file by the City and shall be made available for public inspection upon request. 


Elly Soto McKuen, Senior Project Manager
Public Works Department
Email: [email protected].
Phone: (239) 949-6262